Classic dishes on menus, such as cobblers, fried chicken or breakfast hashes, will always have their place on restaurant menus. But for operators who want to mix things up a bit, pairing these classics with trending flavors and ingredients is the perfect way to give mealtime a makeover. Whether that’s using ancient grains, new flavorings or unique produce for these dishes and pairing them with sweet and juicy fruits, operators have a number of ways to try something new. Here’s five ways to spice up favorites.
1) Egyptian Breakfast Hash
Breakfast hash is on an upward trajectory—it’s increased on menus by 29% over the last four years, according to Datassential’s MenuTrends. That may not seem like a lot, but if the last five years are any indication, hash will only keep growing.
Beyond standard ingredients such as potatoes, corned beef and onions, though, operators are mixing it up to keep consumers interested. Want to branch out? Try serving up Egyptian Breakfast Hash. Start with diced potatoes, and top it with Manchego cheese, thyme and parsley, chickpeas and dukkah (an Egyptian condiment made of herbs, hazelnuts and spices that’s grown 117% on menus, according to Datassential). Top it off with peaches for a sweet twist and watch consumers dig into this tasty breakfast.
2) Baharat Spiced Cherries and Labneh on Flatbread
Flatbread is a familiar format that consumers love to order—it’s often used in place of bread with sandwiches offerings, but it’s also served straight up, topped with an array of savory and sweet trimmings. To mix things up from the usual findings, offer it as a shareable app with unique flavors.
Labneh, which is thought to have originated in the ravine between Mount Moriah and Mount Zion in Jerusalem, is known for its distinct, sour, yogurt-like flavor. Mediterranean labneh and ancient spices including baharat, a Middle Eastern spice blend, combined with cherries stewed in red wine and red wine vinegar team up for a flavor explosion. And because it’s shareable, it’s perfect for consumers who want to branch out but still seek familiar ingredients.
3) Sorghum Fried Chicken Sandwich with Cherry Slaw
Sorghum, an ancient grain that first appeared during an archaeological dig near the Egyptian-Sudanese border, is not only made into flour but also a sweet syrup. In the south, sorghum syrup and sorghum molasses are commonly used on hot cereals or pancakes, but here, sorghum molasses is used in a recipe for a unique fried chicken sandwich. It’s mixed into buttermilk for chicken’s wet dredge (before being dipped in a spiced-flour dredge). This tasty fried chicken goes great atop a pile of cherry slaw—a flavorful dressing of mayonnaise, sour cream, pineapple juice, vinegar and hot sauce pairs perfectly with sweet cherries.
4) Roasted Poblano and Pea Soup with Mango Creme Fraiche
Poblanos take their name from their place of origin—Puebla, Mexico. For an exciting new way to use them, try out Roasted Poblano and Pea Soup with Mango Creme Fraiche.
Mango has increased 6% on menus over the past five years, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, and this comforting yet unique soup is a great way to incorporate them along with two ancient ingredients (poblano peppers and creme fraiche). This spicy soup begins with roasted peppers and calls on spices like cumin, black peppercorn and guajillo pepper for layers of flavor. Mango puree is blended into creme fraiche along with lime juice and chili powder, then drizzled atop the soup for a warm yet refreshing bite.
5) Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Blackberry Chantilly
Creme fraiche is believed to have originated in Normandy and is considered a French delicacy. Nowadays, it’s used as a tangy topping and ingredient in an array of dishes and is perfect for dessert. Here, it’s used as part of a delectable dessert as the star ingredient in panna cotta. A combination of creme fraiche, heavy cream, buttermilk and gelatin make up the base panna cotta, and blackberry puree is blended into whipped cream for a sweet topping. Surrounded by fresh blackberries, this panna cotta gets high marks.
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